Ohio State Bowl Prep: 3 Players Ready for the Spotlight

Oct 24, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer prior to the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Oct 24, 2015; Piscataway, NJ, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer prior to the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Points Solutions Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Three Ohio State players to keep your eye on.

The 2013 Orange Bowl against Clemson ended in a 40-35 defeat for Ohio State, but two young players emerged from that game as stars ready to explode in 2014.

Vonn Bell got the first start of his career against the Tigers.  Despite getting burned a few times, his athleticism was on full display.

He made a leaping, one-handed interception on the two-yard line early in the second quarter showing that he was destined to be the next great safety for the Buckeyes.

Joey Bosa was already headed for greatness prior to the Orange Bowl, but Noah Spence’s suspension shifted the spotlight solely on him.

Even though he played most of the game with a knee injury, Bosa demonstrated his versatility lining up all over the line often causing confusion up front for the Tigers.

His biggest impact was not even in making substantial plays.  To avoid Bosa’s ability to cause disruption, Tajh Boyd frequently shifted plays away from his side.

Bosa still managed to get a sack and apply consistent pressure on Boyd and headed into the off-season as the defined leader on the defense.

We all know that the usual suspects need to play their best game to beat Clemson in the Playstation Fiesta Bowl, but similar to 2013, here are three players that will emerge as key playmakers that will impact the outcome.

K.J. Hill

Rated as the No. 1 prospect in Arkansas in 2015, signing the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Hill was a steal for Meyer’s Ohio State class two years ago.

He redshirted in 2015 and came into this season in the mix among several wide receivers vying for the second spot opposite Noah Brown.

Hill’s season started slowly, largely due to a foot injury.  Once he returned in late October, he quickly established himself as a go to playmaker racking up 186 yards over the last five games.

With Clemson’s defensive game plan largely focusing on limiting Brown, opportunities will be there for Hill to make big plays.  I expect him to have his best game of the year getting his first 100-yard game.

With no other receiver emerging and Torrence Gibson’s future in doubt, Hill can cement himself in the No. 2 spot with a strong performance against Clemson.  He’ll deliver.

mike weber ohio state

Jan 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; General view of an Ohio State Buckeyes helmet prior to the 2015 Sugar Bowl against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Bosa

Despite suffering a ACL tear last November which many believed would slow his development as a freshman, Bosa instead wasted little time making his mark.

While he did not put up the same numbers as his older brother, Bosa finished the regular season with 25 tackles and five sacks earning him Freshman All-American honors by ESPN.

Part of a two-deep rotation, Bosa’s quickness and agility will be needed to contain and pressure Deshaun Watson and help plug the middle stopping Wayne Gallman from gashing them up the middle.

Like his brother, the stat line may not reflect Bosa’s overall contribution against Clemson.  Expect him to do a lot the dirty work inside to help free up the rest of the guys to make plays on the edge.

Oct 10, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes team members Adolphus Washington (92), Damon Webb (7), and Parris Campbell (21)celebrate following the game versus the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 49-28 to remain unbeaten. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 10, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes team members Adolphus Washington (92), Damon Webb (7), and Parris Campbell (21)celebrate following the game versus the Maryland Terrapins at Ohio Stadium. Ohio State won the game 49-28 to remain unbeaten. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Damon Webb

Sometimes forgotten among an Ohio State secondary stacked with elite talent, Webb put together a successful first season as the starter opposite Malik Hooker.  He finished with 53 tackles and one interception.

With Gareon Conley and Marshon Lattimore locked in on covering Mike Williams and Artavis Scott, look for Watson to target tight end Jordan Leggett coming across the deep middle or Deon Cain sprinting down the side.

Clemson will likely run these guys away from Hooker so that leaves Webb as the main guy to eliminate big plays down the field.

Obviously, Webb can’t do it alone, but in a tight game busting up one or two critical plays will be the difference between losing and moving on to the championship game.

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